George R Dodge

faculty photo
Research Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery
Department: Orthopaedic Surgery

Contact information
McKay Orthopaedic Research Laboratory
379A Stemmler Hall
3450 Hamilton Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6081
Office: 215-573-1514
Fax: 215-574-2133
B.S. (Biology)
Asbury College, Wilmore KY, 1974.
B.S. (Biology and Health Science (Public Health))
State University of New York, College at Brockport, 1976.
Ph.D. (Biochemistry and Immunology)
McGill University , 1989.
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Description of Research Expertise

I am an established investigator with a career long commitment to translational musculoskeletal research and in particular research focused on cartilage and chondrocyte biology, extracellular matrix and research related to osteoarthritis. Fundamentally, my research addresses the translational area of degenerative joint diseases and focuses on extracellular matrix, cartilage cell biology, cartilage tissue engineering, and cartilage response to injury. A graduate of McGill University under the mentorship of Professor A. Robin Poole formed a solid basis for a career in studying cartilage and joint-related diseases. I also trained in the labs of recognized leaders in matrix biology (Professors R Iozzo and S Jimenez at Jefferson Medical College) and have continued to work in the area of cartilage biology for more than 25 years. Significant accomplishments include Dodge and Poole being among the first to describe a new approach to use antibodies to degrade fragments of extracellular matrix as biomarkers and to identify arthritic diseases and tissue turnover; an area of study and much interest still today. Additionally, Dodge and Iozzo were the first to characterize a novel and important heparan sulfate proteoglycan, perlecan and were the team that originally identified and characterized the human perlecan gene. This molecule has gone on to be identified as critical to many fundamental processes such as skeletal development, angiogenesis, growth factor deliver, and cartilage homeostasis.

More recently, with a focus on cartilage tissue structure and function paradigms, my work has concentrated on developing innovative technologies of tissue engineering and phenotypically correct models of cartilage-like functional units. My laboratory has been a forerunner in the area of scaffold-free tissue engineering cartilage and recently published a study that clearly demonstrated our novel scaffold-less model can generate functionally relevant cartilage tissue analogs (Mohanraj B et al., J Biomechanics 2014). We have focused over the past several years on developing this platform as a generator of cartilage surrogates which also included novel approaches to grow these tissue surrogates in a pressurized bioreactor delivering a physiologically relevant load. I have combined the experiences of cartilage cell biology and tissue engineering and designed a bioreactor that can deliver physiologically relevant loads and mimic pathological stress or injury on growing cartilage analogs generated from both chondrocytes and stem cells. This provides a physiological-relevant platform to explore the mechanisms of various cell functions and how to control them.

My current goals important to traumatic injuries to cartilage, (i.e., PTOA) which is to identify molecules involved in chondroctye's early response to compressive injury and identify in a high throughput manner, therapeutics targets. A significant advance in the potential to discover therapeutics in this clinical area has been achieved by our success in creating a PTOA injury model platform that was designed to rapidly assess small molecules and drug’s effects on cell after a compressive injury (B Mohanraj et al., OA & Cart 2014).

Complementing molecular and cell biology expertise, my lab has extensive experience incorporating novel imaging approaches into our research including FT-IRIS, MRI, and CT which has direct implications when considering assessing later engineered materials in vivo. We also made a significant advance in the area of imaging as a biomarker, with a study demonstrating in an animal model the use of MRI as a biomarker for early detection of cartilage changes and its ability to detect the progressive damage that occurs over time (Fenty M et al., J Mag Res Imaging 2012). As demonstrated here, I have a broad range of translational orthopaedic based research interests and nurtured innovative collaborations with biologists, engineers and clinicians which have implications in a variety of clinical areas. A cross-disciplinary approach continues to be the cornerstone of my research agenda.

Selected Publications

Martinez Jerahme R, Grindel Brian J, Hubka Kelsea M, Dodge George R, Farach-Carson Mary C: Perlecan/HSPG2: Signaling role of domain IV in chondrocyte clustering with implications for Schwartz-Jampel Syndrome. Journal of cellular biochemistry Sep 2018.

Kim Minwook, Garrity Sean T, Steinberg David R, Dodge George R, Mauck Robert L: Role of dexamethasone in the long-term functional maturation of MSC-laden hyaluronic acid hydrogels for cartilage tissue engineering. Journal of orthopaedic research : official publication of the Orthopaedic Research Society 36(6): 1717-1727, Jun 2018.

Mohanraj Bhavana, Huang Alice H, Yeger-McKeever Meira J, Schmidt Megan J, Dodge George R, Mauck Robert L: Chondrocyte and Mesenchymal Stem Cell Derived Engineered Cartilage Exhibits Differential Sensitivity to Pro-Inflammatory Cytokines. Journal of orthopaedic research : official publication of the Orthopaedic Research Society May 2018.

Sennett Mackenzie L, Meloni Gregory R, Farran Alexandra J E, Guehring Hans, Mauck Robert L, Dodge George R: Sprifermin Treatment Enhances Cartilage Integration in an In Vitro Repair Model. Journal of orthopaedic research : official publication of the Orthopaedic Research Society May 2018.

Bonadio Marcelo B, Friedman James M, Sennett Mackenzie L, Mauck Robert L, Dodge George R, Madry Henning: A retinaculum-sparing surgical approach preserves porcine stifle joint cartilage in an experimental animal model of cartilage repair. Journal of experimental orthopaedics 4(1): 11, Dec 2017.

Szczesny Spencer E, Fetchko Kristen L, Dodge George R, Elliott Dawn M: Evidence that interfibrillar load transfer in tendon is supported by small diameter fibrils and not extrafibrillar tissue components. Journal of orthopaedic research : official publication of the Orthopaedic Research Society 35(10): 2127-2134, Oct 2017.

Gullbrand Sarah E, Schaer Thomas P, Agarwal Prateek, Bendigo Justin R, Dodge George R, Chen Weiliam, Elliott Dawn M, Mauck Robert L, Malhotra Neil R, Smith Lachlan J: Translation of an injectable triple-interpenetrating-network hydrogel for intervertebral disc regeneration in a goat model. Acta biomaterialia 60: 201-209, Sep 2017.

Sambamurthy Nisha, Nguyen Vu, Smalley Ryan, Xiao Rui, Hankenson Kurt, Gan Justin, Miller Rachel E, Malfait Anne-Marie, Dodge George R, Scanzello Carla R: Chemokine receptor-7 (CCR7) deficiency leads to delayed development of joint damage and functional deficits in a murine model of osteoarthritis. Journal of orthopaedic research : official publication of the Orthopaedic Research Society 36(3): 864-875, Aug 2017.

Meloni Gregory R, Fisher Matthew B, Stoeckl Brendan D, Dodge George R, Mauck Robert L: Biphasic Finite Element Modeling Reconciles Mechanical Properties of Tissue-Engineered Cartilage Constructs Across Testing Platforms. Tissue engineering. Part A 23(13-14): 663-674, Jul 2017.

Pfeifer Christian G, Fisher Matthew B, Saxena Vishal, Kim Minwook, Henning Elizabeth A, Steinberg David R, Dodge George R, Mauck Robert Leon: AGE-DEPENDENT SUBCHONDRAL BONE REMODELING AND CARTILAGE REPAIR IN A MINIPIG DEFECT MODEL. Tissue engineering. Part C, Methods 23(11): 745-753, Jul 2017.

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Last updated: 07/13/2020
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